Over the years I have had the honor of working with and getting to know professional athletes. From boxers to ball players, golfers to gold medal winners, a trait that they all have in common is the uncanny ability to be present and focus on the task at hand.
Can you imagine what it takes to shoot a free throw
during a playoff game when the fans from the other
team is booing and trying to distract you?
Or to sink a putt during sudden death playoff?
Or to serve an ace to close out the match?
Yes it takes a tremendous amount of skill, talent, and training, But the fact is if you want to play in the big-leagues, you need to be able to shut out the screaming fans, play through the cries of fatigue from every muscle in your body, and focus. Most importantly, you need to tune out, turn off, or shift any negative or non-serving dialogue that may be running through your head. Quite simply, to be the champion of your own life, you must be able to drop your internal bat.
You don't have to be a baseball player, or even a fan, to have your own bat! Ultimately we all have our own autographed bat...it is our internal bat!
The internal bat is the mechanism that we use to punish and abuse ourselves. It consists of well-established patterns of thoughts and behaviors that we use in a habitual way to beat ourselves up.
When it comes to using our internal bat some of us only bunt the ball and others continually hit home runs. Whether it's through our own negative internal dialogue, self-sabotaging habits or choices, or even allowing people into our lives who drain or deplete us, cross our boundaries, or just don't support our highest expression of self, as human beings we have created a variety of ways to use our bats and beat ourselves up. The truly sad thing is that we would never think to use these bats on the people we love, yet day in and day out, we use them on ourselves.
Internal bats are crafted out of Shadow Beliefs that we hold about ourselves. They are born from thoughts that we're not good enough, not worthy, deserve to be punished, or some variation thereof. Our internal bats are also aligned with our Underlying Commitments. These hidden, deepest commitments are in direct opposition to what we say we want, but they are responsible for what we manifest in our lives. Examples of Underlying Commitments include playing small or safe, to keep us from stepping up to the plate or staying in our story of failure to keep us from striking out. An Underlying Commitment to instant gratification over long-term fulfillment leads to us give up practicing or to quit the game altogether. Bottom line, as a result of our Underlying Commitments, we beat ourselves up and paralyze our progress to ensure that we fulfill these unconscious, self-defeating commitments that control our external realities.
The good news is that we have the ability to drop the bat, step away from the batting cage, and stop taking swings at our self-esteem. We can all learn to do what they do in baseball and take a seventh-inning stretch! In any moment we have the ability to refocus, to pause, take a breath, and transform a limiting thought, shift a non-serving behavior, or walk away from a negative situation. Like any sport, learning to put down the bat and take a seventh-inning stretch will take practice, but this is a muscle that will get stronger with proper training,
So as we head into baseball season, it's time to retire your internal bat and trade it in for love taps! Instead of being the roughest player on the team, become your greatest cheerleader. Say only the kindest statements to yourself. Think empowering and supportive thoughts. Make high-level choices. In each and every moment, honor yourself by attending to your needs and wants.
If you want to be at the top of your game and also enjoy the experience then be a champion for self-love over self-abuse! The rewards will be better than gold!
Transformational Action Steps
(1) Become familiar with your internal bat. Start noticing all of the ways you most frequently beat yourself up. What behaviors, thoughts, addictions, patterns, people, circumstances, or situations do you use to diminish, punish, demean, shame, insult, abuse, injure, wound, or otherwise beat yourself up?
(2) Practice taking a seventh-inning stretch. Any time you find yourself using your internal bat, call a time-out and consciously take a breath and refocus your thoughts, shift your actions, and make a higher choice. Notice what happens as you take on this practice.
(3) If you want to learn more about Shadow Beliefs and Underlying Commitments and immerse yourself in a training where you learn to drop the bat, join us at The Shadow Process May 27th to May 29th in Vancouver or The Shadow Experience July 8th to July 10th at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.